Nancy Knapp Schilke, ALMS Correspondent
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing notched the pole for the American Le Mans Series race at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with Klaus Graf at the wheel of the No. 6 HPD ARX-03a. The German turned a year older today as he earned his fifth series career pole
“Lucas [Luhr] and I have been here many, many times, we've won here repeatedly. It doesn't take us long to get up to speed,” said Graf. “We kind of know the baseline of the car now. We have a really good engineering staff so we kind of know what we need coming here, having said that you never quite know until you've been on the track.”
On the 2.459 mile circuit in Bowmanville, ONT, Graf’s best lap was a 1:06.486. Second overall in the P1 class was the No. Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 Mazda. Chris Dyson was 2.151 seconds off the pole time with a 1:08.637. Eric Lux was third in P1 with his best lap of 1:08.746 in the No. 20 Dyson Mazda.
"This is the third year in a row where we have been on the front row here with Guy Smith and I am pleased for that," said Dyson.
In the GT class, it was Corvette Racing with Jan Magnussen setting his flying lap at 1:15.478 in the No. 3 Corvette C6-ZR1 to earn the pole by 0.304 second over Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 team car. Not only did both Corvette teammates take the front row but both drivers were under the track set back in 2008.
Adding to the hot speeds turned today was BWM RLL’s Bill Auberlen in the No. 55 BMW E92 M3, who had the third fastest lap. Magnussen lap broke the record by 1.385 seconds. Gavin’s best lap was a 1:15.782 while Auberlen clocked a 1:16.011 in the No. 55 BMW E92 M3.
"I didn't think a GT car could go that quickly here!" commented Magnussen who now has 11 career poles in the ALMS. "It was a fantastic lap, and a great job by the team to give me this car to qualify. There is so much time to be gained when you get into the flow of this track. I actually surprised myself – on one of my laps, I didn't look at the time and went four tenths faster!”
Martin Plowman took the pole in the P2 class in the No. Conquest Endurance Morgan/Nissan with time of 1:08.853. “This is very nice to get the first pole. It was even better in the manner we did it. We rolled the car off the track and it was already on the mark. We did a few things in practice to try and improve the car. We made the right improvements.”
The series rookie was stunned on winning his and the team’s first ALMS pole: “I went out during qualifying with my goals; all I had to do was hit my marks. I got it right on the sweet spot. It was almost like an out of body experience when you're in the zone. I looked down at my time after the lap and I almost couldn't believe it. It was incredible!”
CORE Autosport has been the team to beat in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class this year, and today their rookie Colin Braun won his first pole. “Well this is great; to have a pole here is nice. It doesn't matter much for the races; it's certainly nice for the stats. Hats off to our team, we've had a fast car all season.”
Braun’s best lap was a 1:10.698 in the No. 05 Oreca FLM09 for a new track record. The old record was held by Canadian racer Kyle Marcelli; set in 2011 at 1:11.331.The dominant team thus far this season sewed up the front row for the PC class with Ryan Dalziel laying down a 1:10.935 in the team’s No. 06 Oreca.
The pole winner for the GT Challenge (GTC) class was Damien Faulkner in the No. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Green Hornet Racing. His time of 1:21.615 was the third track record broken today.
“All weekend, we've been fast. Yesterday we got new tires and we were second fastest. We went over the car with a fine tooth comb last night. I think they were here until 2:30 this morning, which is normal, cause the Green Hornet racing crew is the hardest working crew in the paddock. I was shooting for a 21.7, ended up getting a 21.6 and knew that would be enough for the lap.”
The real show will start tomorrow at 12:00pm EST.